The United Kingdom’s (UK) Permanent Representative to the European Union, Sir Tim Barrow, represented the UK at the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC). It was chaired by the High Representative and Vice President of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP), Federica Mogherini. The meeting was held in Brussels.
Ministers reviewed the situation in Gaza and the meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) in Vienna on 6 July. The UK reported on the Western Balkans Summit that took place in London on 9 and 10 July. Ministers noted that the EU-Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) meeting and Somalia Partnership Forum would take place in Brussels on 16 July.
Ministers discussed the Eastern Partnership ahead of the Eastern Partnership Ministerial meeting that will take place in October. They reaffirmed the commitment of the EU to the region, to the reform agenda, and to the priorities identified as the '20 deliverables for 2020', to achieve a stronger economy, governance, connectivity and society. The Council confirmed the continuing relevance of a tailor-made and differentiated approach for each of the six countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) in their relations with the EU. Ministers noted the progress made in the six countries but also underlined the need to step up reforms in areas such as governance, justice, the fight against corruption, economic reform and the business environment. They expressed particular concern over the situation in the Republic of Moldova. Finally, Ministers highlighted the importance of using the opportunity that the 10th anniversary of the partnership in 2019 would present, to highlight the EU's commitment to the region.
The HRVP reported back on her visit to Libya on 14 July. Ministers reiterated their support for the Secretary General of the United Nations’ (UN) Special Representative, Ghassan Salamé. Ministers stressed the need to accelerate work towards elections and that a proper constitutional and legal framework must be in place before they take place. They welcomed the resolution of the recent crisis in the Oil Crescent but underlined the importance of addressing the causes. Ministers agreed that the EU should increase its work with the UN to ensure that revenues from oil are distributed in a transparent manner and highlighted the results of the EU's work on the ground on migration.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
During discussions on the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK), Ministers reiterated their full commitment to support efforts towards complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and the EU's readiness to facilitate steps towards this objective. In line with the EU's policy of critical engagement, Ministers underlined the importance of continuing to maintain pressure through sanctions, while keeping channels of communication open. They also agreed to encourage the DPRK to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
The Council agreed a number of measures without discussion:
- The Council adopted conclusions on the International Criminal Court on the 20th anniversary of the Statute of Rome;
- The Council adopted a decision and regulations on Maldives restrictive measures;
- Iran: blocking statute: The Council indicated its intention not to object to the Commission delegated regulation;
- The Council adopted a decision on the extension of tariff preferences to the Western Sahara in the Association Agreement with Morocco to the Western Sahara;
- The Council endorsed the Common Foreign and Security Policy report 2018;
- The Council adopted negotiating directives for the HRVP to negotiate an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Uzbekistan;
- The Council approved the opening of an EU Delegation to Turkmenistan;
- The Council agreed the proposal to open an EU Delegation to Kuwait;
- The Council concluded the partnership and cooperation agreement between the EU and Singapore;
- The Council adopted Al-Qaida restrictive measures.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: